Monterey Jazz Festival: Esperanza Spalding
Posted on: Saturday, September 19, 2009 2:57 AM by Nicole Gustas
Esperanza Spalding is overwhelmingly talented. You probably already know her story: self-taught violinist, youngest faculty member ever at Berklee, self-produced first album widely celebrated. But can she live up to the hype? Esperanza Spalding by Mike Rainey In a word: yes. Not only does she have a smooth voice that ranges from sweet and soulful to echoes of a pre-pubescent Michael Jackson, but she plays one heck of a bass. Her bass playing doesn't just happen with her fingers; Spalding leans in with her whole body, leaning in and twisting as if her motion can wring extra life out of the notes. And perhaps that's her secret. Her bass-playing leads the way in her music; the trumpet acts as a hot exclamation point at the end of every musical phrase. Richard Vogt, Esperanza Spalding and Otis Brown, by Mike Rainey Esperanza Spalding's music is the sort you'd hear at a great wine bar on a perfect sunshiny afternoon as you watched the world walk by. Her music is fresh and exciting, but still draws from traditional sounds. She was a perfect choice to open Friday night's Jimmy Lyons Stage program at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Esperanza Spalding by Mike Rainey For all our coverage of the Monterey Jazz Festival, see our Monterey Jazz Festival category.